Employers in Lithonia are legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. That means, if you get injured at work, you are entitled to these benefits. However, if you need help getting the money you need to cover your expenses and get better, it’s time to contact a workers’ compensation lawyer in Lithonia.
Our workers’ compensation lawyers at John Foy & Associates have been representing injured workers in Lithonia and all of Georgia for 20 plus years. We can help you communicate and negotiate with the insurance company for a settlement you deserve. Call or contact us online today.
Why do I Need a Lawyer for My Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Workers’ compensation claims don’t involve going to court or filing a third-party claim. You don’t need a lawyer to help you, but it’s still best to retain one. Our workers’ compensation lawyers in Lithonia will assist you in your pursuit of compensation by:
- Gathering evidence and building a solid case for your claim.
- Helping you understand all of your legal options and guide you through the claims process.
- Ensuring that the insurance companies don’t get you to settle for less or downplay your injuries.
- Talking to experts and witnesses to obtain their testimony in support of your claim.
- Handling all communications between you and other parties involved.
Hiring a lawyer is an investment you make to ensure that the insurance companies play fair and give you the proper settlement you need for your damages. While you can file alone, this will put you at a disadvantage and could result in you settling for less.
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How to Know If You Have Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Anyone who regularly employs three or more individuals in their business must carry workers’ compensation insurance. This includes those who are part-time or seasonal workers, as long as they are regularly employed. The only exceptions to these requirements are businesses like U.S. Government agencies, railroad carriers, domestic servants, and farm laborers.
If the business is incorporated, any officers are considered to be employees of the company, as well. Therefore, officers can waive workers’ compensation coverage, but they would still count towards the three or more employees’ requirement.
So, most employers in Lithonia are required to carry workers’ compensation. There’s a good chance that you are covered if you were hurt while fulfilling work duties. Most work-related injuries happen on your employer’s property. Still, you may also qualify for benefits if you were hurt while running an errand for your employer or traveling for business reasons.
What You Need to Do to Receive Benefits
After you get hurt at work, you will need to notify your employer as soon as possible after the accident, according to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §34-9-80.
This is the most crucial first step, as you may not be entitled to recover any medical costs you accrue until you let your employer know about the injury. You can also lose any right to recovery if you do not notify your employer within 30 days of the accident. You will also need to show that:
- You were employed by your employer when the injury happened.
- Your employer carries workers’ compensation.
- The injury occurred while you were at work or performing work duties.
Your injury does not necessarily need to have happened while you were performing actions for your job. As long as the accident occurred at work, you should be covered. After reporting the injury, your employer is supposed to help you with the next steps for getting your benefits.
That includes letting you know which doctors to see so that your treatment qualifies for compensation. If your employer does not provide you with this information, contact a Lithonia workers compensation lawyer right away.
What If an Employer Says They don’t Have Workers’ Compensation?
Although most employers are legally required to carry workers’ compensation, it’s surprisingly common for a business not to carry it even when they should. This is serious, as there are huge penalties for not carrying the required workers’ compensation insurance. Any business found not to have the necessary coverage can face up to a year in prison and $5,000 per violation.
If your employer tells you there is no workers’ compensation after a work accident, call a workers’ compensation attorney in Lithonia immediately. You may be able to get more money for your injuries if your employer is non-compliant, as it means you can bring a personal injury claim against them and demonstrate their negligence in not carrying coverage.
Workers’ Compensation Is a No-Fault System
Unlike other types of personal injury cases where someone is negligent in the accident and responsible for damages, workers’ compensation claims do not consider fault at all. You cannot sue your employer directly in a workers’ compensation case, and they can not blame you for the accident. When a work injury happens, you should automatically get covered under workers’ compensation.
Benefits Available Through Workers’ Compensation
There are several types of benefits available under workers’ compensation coverage. If you sustained any of the following damages from your injuries, you can get a settlement for them.
Medical care is the benefit you will likely receive first. Under workers’ compensation, your employer’s insurance company should cover any treatment costs for your work injury. Even if your medical expenses are very high, you should not have to pay for any of them.
Many work injuries prevent you from working for a certain period. If you cannot work for at least seven days, you typically qualify to receive temporary disability benefits as you’re away from work.
Temporary disability benefits are usually two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to $575 per week and 400 weeks or until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). If your work injury results in a permanent impairment, you may be able to receive permanent partial disability payments. You can obtain these for a certain number of weeks based on the percentage of impairment you have, which gets dictated by a doctor.
Severe work injuries can leave you with a permanent and total disability. This would mean you are unable to go back to work at all. However, depending on your circumstances, you might be entitled to receive weekly compensation for life.
Vocational rehabilitation helps those with physical or mental disabilities gain skills and training that allow them to get and keep a job. In some cases, your work injury may require this type of rehabilitation or job training to prepare you for a new kind of work.
Workers’ compensation should cover these types of services if your injury prevents you from doing the type of job you had before.
Are There Damages I Won’t Be Able to Be Compensated For?
While the workers’ compensation system exists to protect workers and get them the settlement they need fast, that doesn’t mean that all of your damages will get covered. There are a few damages that workers’ compensation won’t compensate for:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Workers’ compensation generally only covers direct economic damages that result from your physical injury. There are some ways to get covered for psychological pain and damages, but you would have to connect those in some way to your bodily injury.
Don’t Trust Insurance Companies
You would receive the workers’ compensation benefits you need to fully recover from your injuries and damages in an ideal situation. Unfortunately, however, insurance companies that provide workers’ compensation aren’t always entirely fair or reasonable.
If what they offer you isn’t enough to cover your losses, or you need help with any other aspect of your claim, it’s time to talk to a Lithonia worker’s compensation attorney.
The Statute of Limitations for Workers’ Compensation Claims in Georgia
The statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims in Georgia is one year from the date of your injury. Remember, this is only a general timeframe to follow. Some cases may have more time and others less.
As a general rule of thumb, you should never wait until the last minute to file a claim. The chances of getting a fair workers’ compensation settlement are the strongest right after your accident when evidence is fresh. Don’t file your claim alone. To get the maximum amount of compensation possible, always talk to one of our lawyers first.
Talk to a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Lithonia for Free
This is how we can help at John Foy & Associates. Our lawyers know what it takes to get you the benefits you deserve, and we don’t get paid unless we win your case. Contact us today, and we’ll get you started with a free consultation. Call or contact us online to set up an appointment.